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Freedom from unreasonable search and seizure (4A) - The Fourth Amendment

Though the vast majority of Americans are totally ignorant of the fact, the Bill of Rights (the first 10 Amendments), like Constitution itself, has a Preamble.  Here it is:  “The conventions of a number of the States having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best insure the beneficent ends of its institution.”

It was understood by the Founders, and has been largely forgotten in today's society, that the rights of people everywhere, and addressed specifically to the citizens of the United States in our Constitution, are not granted by the government; rather, these rights are characterized by our Founders as "unalienable" - they cannot be usurped or restriced as they come from God, not man, and certainly not from man's government.

The 4th Amendment (hereinafter 4A) is one of those “further declaratory and restrictive clauses”.  It declares in no uncertain terms that Americans have a right and an expectation to possess their home in seisin, along with their families, property and their liberties.

The warrantless intrusions into the private lives of citizens need to be stopped.  It is simple – if you wish to collect information from citizens, obtain a warrant.  Before the NSA or any other governmental agency can obtain your personal information thy must demonstrate to a judge that this is not an unreasonable search and seizure and must describe “the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

The 4A stands in stark contrast to the legislation known as “The Patriot Act” (et al) whereby our government purports “its goals are to strengthen domestic security and broaden the powers of law-enforcement agencies with regards to identifying and stopping terrorists.”  We have seen all too often how these “broadened powers” have been abused to instigate warrantless surveillance of US citizens who have NO ties to terrorism.

Additionally, the recent surge in so-called “red flag” laws that violate gun owners’ 4A protections are especially heinous, and present a real and present danger to the 2A as well, by depriving citizens of their property without due process.

Ben Franklin stated, Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.  (Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759; US author, diplomat, inventor, physicist, politician, & printer [1706 – 1790])

The USFA endorses these clear statements of both process and intent that must be met before attempts to violate this right are approved by the court, and we stand to defend the 4A in all times and all places it is threatened.